The U.S. Navy recently completed two successful live fire tests of the Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder air/air missile. Following the recent approval for Raytheon to enter low rate initial production, AIM-9X Block II is now scheduled to enter operational testing in spring 2012.
The recent tests were conducted by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 31 at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif. The mission was part of a developmental testing of the missile that began in September 2010. AIM-9X Block II missiles have already performed several test firings at Eglin Air Force base in November 2009, but development have stalled for two years due to technical problems, part of which was attributed to technical problems with the weapon’s laser proximity fuse.
Navy F-18D performed two successful test firings of the AIM-9X Block II, the latest version of the Sidewinder, enhanced with Lock on After Launch capability. Photo: Raytheon
The Navy team conducted the two developmental tests on Aug.31 and Sept.1 to demonstrate Block II’s ability to deliver expanded air-to-air warfare capabilities. During both missions, an F/A-18D fired one telemetry-equipped missile against a BQM-74 sub-scale target, testing the new model’s improved lock-on-after-launch capability employing the new data link, extended range lofting fly-out profile and improved all weather DSU-41 laser fusing, optimized against small targets. The first mission tested the weapon’s ability to fire against an extremely small target flying at low altitudes over the California desert at an extended beyond visual range. The second mission demonstrated Block II’s all-weather capability when the test pilot, flying below the 1,000 feet marine layer of clouds off the Point Mugu, Calif. coast, shot at a target flying above the clouds. The second test employed a new, high precision telemetry system accurately profiling the endgame profile and target engagement.
Turkey is ready to sell the new ANKA Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles to Egypt. Ankara has already approved a contract signed between with Egypt, for the transfer of six fast intervention vessels.
Egypt was one of the pioneers in unmanned aerial systems, fielding the Teledyne Ryan Model 324 Scarab high speed drone and SkyEye tactical UAVs in since the early 1980s. The addition of a MALE platform will fulfill the gap offering better persistence, improved imagery and multi-payload capacity. According to Ertem, other Middle East countries have also expressed interest in the Anka, as they prefer the Turkish product over U.S. or Israeli competitors.
Turkish Aerospace Industries ANKA UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Turkish and Egyptian officials have discussed military cooperation during the recent visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Cairo last week. According to Özcan Ertem , Vice President of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) the prospects of selling the new Anka MALE UAV were discussed. He said the Turkish UAV is raising interest in the region, in Saudi Arabia and other North African countries, markets free from Israeli competition. Ertem said the Anka is currently being tested and certified with the flight testing campaign expected to be concluded in the spring.
According to Turkish sources, Turkey will also deliver to Egypt six multi-role tactical platform, MRTP-20 ‘fast-intervention crafts’, produced by Yonca-Onuk. Three boats will be constructed in Istanbul and the others in Egypt’s Alexandria shipyard using Turkish supplied kits.